Here’s my Part 2 of that first day of the Oregon Brewers Festival. These are more random observations that I wanted to touch on before moving to my Day 2 report.
After tasting six beers at the northern end of the Brewfest, I wandered south to check out the rest of the action. Interestingly, the southern tent was obviously busier and packed with more people than the northern tent. I’m not sure about the reason behind this discrepancy. Perhaps more people were entering via the southern entrance under the Morrison Bridge?
People-watching is, of course, a prime sport, especially as it gets busier. People of all kinds were there, everyone was friendly and good-natured and mellow. Even the lines to the Porta-Potties (Honey Buckets, according to their signs) were orderly, despite growing longer throughout the day.
I saw a fair number of Deschutes Brewery shirts, moreso than other brands/brewers, though this may only be because my eye is more attuned to them and their logo.
Some interesting headwear, too: there were a couple of guys with big, flashy sombreros (a good way to beat the sun, I think), two guys with hats that looked like old-fashioned barrel kegs with taps, and a small contingent of people with watermelon hats; a closer look at these folks revealed that they were affiliated somehow with 21 Amendment Brewery, which was pouring Watermelon Wheat at the Brewfest.
At one point I was startled to see a beer keg flying through the air to land with a clang! in the middle space behind the serving tables between the trailers, amongst other kegs. They were clearly empty by the sound they made, and I snapped a few pictures of the guy throwing the empties out the trailer door.
I couldn’t help but think, "This is where kegs go to die" yet at the same time, nodded in agreement with someone who opined that it was a beautiful thing to see. Which it is, if you think about it; all those empty kegs means a lot of beer is being enjoyed.
One of the things that’s both amusing and annoying at the same time is the whooping, hollering vocal "wave" that goes on randomly every few minutes. Somebody starts it—just a loud "Whooo!"—and if it catches, people all around will start, too, and then it spreads. Very much like the wave people do in stadiums during ballgames. It’s interesting to hear one coming—or going—in a weird sort of Doppler mimicry; it’s not as pleasant when it passes over you and you’re standing in the middle of one.
More than once I saw a guy (or several guys) try to start one and fail. I figure that’s gotta be embarrassing.
Late the next day I overheard someone telling their friend that those "waves" happen every time they change to a new keg. I very much doubt it; I saw enough start randomly to know there were no kegs involved. That, and the keg swapping was done inside of the trailers, out of sight.
Later in the day
Justin was able to show up just before 5:30 (he was off work early, got stuck in traffic on the Naito Parkway for almost half an hour, then managed to snag a space in the parking lot just across the street from the main entrance). By that time the park was good and crowded, filling up with the people who likewise were off work and were coming down to spend the evening at the Brewfest. (This still wasn’t nearly as packed as it became on Saturday.)
We didn’t stay too long after that; we were both coming back the next day (early, again) and the big crowd scene just isn’t that enjoyable when it’s largely standing room only and you have to shout to be heard. At the same time, though, there’s a certain dynamic to it; if I were there on a more casual basis I could handle sticking around longer.
As it was, we had three tasters and then headed out around (or shortly after) six o’clock.